Qualitative research methods aim to gather primary in-depth data.
For example, if you want to know why people do what they do and why they want what they want. Information can be gathered using a variety of methods ranging from structured or semi-structured interviews and surveys, to overt and covert participant observation.
This broad method is typically used within the realms of the social sciences, social investigation, and anthropology but also includes data analysis which considers frequency of themes within verbatim responses as well as clusters amongst closed-ended questioning.
Qualitative methods can enable us to gain an understanding of behaviour at a personal and detailed level. By using face-to-face or direct contact techniques we can answer questions regarding, choice, motivation, habit, and consumption. Qualitative research methods are often considered to be rich and diverse and can produce unexpected outcomes.
Our research team are experienced in face-to-face techniques and strictly adhere to the MRS (Market Research Society) code of conduct. This involves interviewing people either on the street (in public) or for more comprehensive projects in their homes. An interviewer conducting face to face interviews has the benefit of being able to build a rapport with the respondent, which can help ensure detailed information is obtained.
Focus groups are valuable in the early stages of qualitative research and are useful when investigating why people do things. Focus groups help you to connect with your market, so you can become more aware of what is going on with your customers, their motivations and attitudes. Focus groups will help you in developing or testing solutions and strategies and is an ideal exploratory technique because of the freedom and interaction inherent in a group situation.
Participant Observation is a research strategy that involves getting close to people. It requires the researcher to make the participants feel comfortable enough in their presence in order that observations are recorded about their lives. Participant observation is a highly in-depth method of gathering data that requires great skill on the part of the researcher. Participant Observation permits the researcher access to activities and first-hand experience of events, so that a greater volume of data can be collected.
Life Stories & Life Changing Events
To record a life history or to evaluate the effects or experience of a life changing event a researcher must spend a considerable amount of time with the subject or participant. As with all face-to-face methods rapport needs to be established early on in the interview process so that the participant feels comfortable in the researchers presence and is happy to speak and recall events.